For 36 years, The Nellie Cashman Woman Business Owner of the Year Award, presented by the Women Business Owners Organization, has recognized women entrepreneurs in Western Washington who have shown themselves to be strong leaders in the local business community. This year, on Oct. 8, it was announced at the awards gala that entrepreneur Dani Cone of Fuel Coffee is the 2018 award winner.
Cone opened Fuel Coffee in 2005 and has since opened two more food-and-drink-based businesses that have attracted national attention. She opened High 5 Pie in 2008 during the recession as a comfort food option during hard times and, in the Seattle market, Cone & Steiner, in 2014. In her decade-plus as a business owner, Cone has received recognition from Martha Stewart and Bon Appetit magazine.
The four finalists are: Amy Balliett, Mary Burris, Margo Engberg, and Kathleen Miller.
Balliett, who owned her first company at 17, is now the CEO and owner of Killer Infographics, an agency that drives visual strategies and campaigns for Fortune 1000 clients.
Burris, CEO and founder of SisAdmin, started her company in her dining room in 2000 because she wanted more flexibility after having her first child.
Engberg ran a successful house-cleaning business for 20 years, then started baking cupcakes for kids who often didn’t get birthday parties, which morphed into her current business, PinkaBella Cupcakes.
And Miller is founder and president of Miller Advisors, Inc., a boutique financial planning firm in Kirkland.
All five women were selected based on their entrepreneurial and community spirit, as well as the difficulties they have experienced in achieving their success.